Sometimes, I am tempted to stop a stranger in the grocery store, look them deep in the eye, and beg for an answer: “Why must the best things come to an end?! It’s agonizing. Is it this way for you, too? Or is it just me?” But instead, I smile and calmly say, “Excuse me, I just need to grab a bag of rice.” I know the truth. That breath-snatching ache somewhere between my throat and my gut that drives me to tears every time the most beautiful parts of life come to a close—it never should have existed. It wasn’t in the script.
It was never supposed to be this way.
“He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) People were crafted for eternity, but—at this moment—we are stuck inside time. How that happened is a long story, but it’s not just our physical death that hovers ahead. It’s a million tiny beauty-deaths that we feel over the course of a lifetime. Thankfully, there is hope.
And it happened on Easter.
So, every time my heart hurts because of a fleeting moment, or season, or era, or generation, I will think of all God has done to rescue all of us who call on him through his Son out of time and into eternity—into a place that time cannot steal. And for now, I will let these finite bits of beauty grab me by the hand and walk me up close to God. Sometimes they can last decades, but usually, they’re just moments that I wish would never, ever, ever end because they are flashes of life shot straight through with joy. They often look a little something like this:
The last sip of morning coffee
A sandlot baseball game on a late spring afternoon
Rocking my baby, ‘cause babies don’t keep
Coach K’s career
Late nights with college roommates
That sweet ageless place between wakefulness and dreams
Chicago Cubs in 2016
Outdoor dinners with old friends (cafe lights strung skyward)
Scent of a newborn
Gentle first light that tiptoes into day
A dog’s 14ish years
Campfires under the stars
A book that makes the reader feel as if he knows the characters
This Grizzlies season
Julie Andrews’ voice
My children in my lap
Endorphins—at the end of a run
A wedding night
Chocolate chip cookies in the oven
Writing a story
Pizza on Friday nights
Worship services thick with the presence of God
One school year with a teacher who cares
Grizzlies that won our hearts, but had to move on
Life before the iPhone
Dick Van Dyke in both Mary Poppins movies
‘Til death do us part
Arriving at the destination
He has also set eternity in the human heart. – Ecclesiastes 3:11
All photographs are courtesy of Gene Cashman.
Candace Echols is a Midtown resident, wife, and mother of five. She has written for StoryBoard’s Page One Writing Workshops, and writes in quiet moments from her yellow chair. Candace recently published her first book, the children’s book Josephine and the Quarantine, and now writes a column for The Daily Memphian.